Third man charged over Potoko Creek robbery

Rhondell Crawford

Three Berbice men have now been charged for the Potoko Creek, Berbice River robbery last Friday, which left two bandits dead after a shootout with the police.

Timothy Sampson, 30, of Lot 12, Adelphi Village, East Canje, Berbice, and Lawrence Vanlewin, 24, a father of two, of Sandhill, Berbice River, appeared at the New Amsterdam Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where they were jointly charged with  robbery under arms. A third man, Rhondell Crawford, 21, of Betsy Ground Village, East Canje Berbice yesterday appeared before Magistrate Alex Moore where he was read the said charge.

The charge read that the trio while in the company of others on Friday, March 2, 2018 at Potoko Creek, Canje River robbed Bharrat Mahadeo of one solar panel worth $75,000, 24 sheep valued at $1.2 million, 15 ducks valued at $30,000, one horse bit valued at $10,000, four lengths of rope valued at $24,000, two torchlights valued at $4,000, one cutlass worth $2,000, one radio worth $2,500 and one Nokia cellphone worth $5,000 property of Krishna Persaud.

Meanwhile, Police Prosecutor, Bernard Brown objected to bail on Tuesday based on the nature of the offence. He also noted in his objection that other charges are expected to be laid.

Sampson at this point interjected on Tuesday and asked Magistrate Moore for permission to speak.

Upon being granted permission, he told the magistrate that he and Vanlewin were heading out of the Canje River after visiting Vanlewin’s mother, when the police stopped them and placed them under arrest.

From left: Timothy Sampson and Lawrence Vanlewin at court on Tuesday

The magistrate stopped Sampson at this point and said that the fact that the police have charged them both means that they have certain evidence. The magistrate noted that initially the police may have responded to information passed on to them, but would have conducted their own investigation afterwards and found the relevant evidence to file the charges.

Magistrate Moore then denied bail for both men.  Bernard also objected to bail yesterday for Crawford.

Last Friday, a six-man gang pounced on three labourers who were stationed at a ranch house in Potoko Creek, Canje River.

One of the three labourers said that the men attacked sometime after 2 am on Friday. While the man was reluctant to speak, he related that the bandits took away their cellphones, tied them up and threatened to kill them throughout the robbery. However, he disclosed that one of the labourers quietly escaped and ran to a nearby camp, where he informed the labourers there what was happening. They then phoned the Vryheid Village, West Canje businessman who owns the ranch house, and he immediately informed the police and headed to the area with the lawmen.

The police said that after the report of the robbery, a party of lawmen, under the supervision of a senior detective, acting on intelligence, intercepted two of the six suspects in a boat on the Berbice River.

However, after apprehending the two suspects, the police proceeded to a location where they found the stolen livestock which comprised sheep and ducks, and the other stolen property loaded inside of a camouflaged aluminum boat.

It was at this point that two other suspects allegedly opened fire on the police, resulting in the fatal shootout. The two slain suspects are Indarjit Sham, 38, of Betsy Ground Village, East Canje, and Amar Bissoon, 20, of Adelphi Village, East Canje, Berbice.

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